Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors, the TV-movie inspired by her childhood in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains, premieres tonight, December 10th, and stars Jennifer Nettles in the role of Parton’s mother, Avie Lee.
While not a Christmas film, Nettles says it nonetheless carries a message of the holidays: one of love for family and unwavering belief. “It is a story of faith. Dolly’s family, the Parton family, their faith was such a huge part of their lives and their connection,” she tells Rolling Stone Country. “And a big part of the story is Lee Parton, Dolly’s father, his battle with his own journey of faith and how he came around to that, not to mention how faith helped hold their family together during tragedy. So it will absolutely be apropos for the holiday season.”
Ricky Schroder stars as Lee Parton, and Nettles said the former child star of such shows as Silver Spoons, gave her tips on set. “Not only is he an actor, but he also has experience as a director so he was very helpful,” says Nettles, who makes her movie debut. “This being my first time to do something this in-depth, there were parts of it and pieces of it where camera angles were concerned that were just new to me. He was super generous and patient.”
In the end, Nettles says the entire cast, including Alyvia Alyn Lind as young Dolly, wanted to do right by Parton in telling the story of her life.
“There’s so much love for her, everybody wants this thing to win and succeed because they love her so much,” Nettles says. “It’s nice to hear that people are excited when they hear about the cast, but what I hope they are excited about is that it’s going to [be an] homage to this wonderful story [of Dolly].”
Coat of Many Colors airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. ET on NBC.